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DePuy Pinnacle Conundrum: Revision Surgery or Lifetime Pain?

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New York, NYJohn had a Depuy Pinnacle hip replacement in 2010 and he had problems with it since the get-go. John is in a conundrum: on the one hand, his surgeon advises revision surgery. On the other hand, a new study has found that hip and knee implant patients older than 60 have a higher risk of heart attacks following surgery than those the same age who do not have joint surgery.

“This DePuy Pinnacle hip constantly hurts, inflames and locks without warning,” John says. “It takes forever to walk anywhere because I think my hip is going to give out from under me. And the more I read about Pinnacle hip replacement side effects, the more worried I am. Now I hear there is a risk of cancer and bladder problems with these devices. I was better off without it.”

(Studies have found metallosis, which is metal poisoning, in patients’ blood and surrounding tissue from metal shavings caused by metal-on-metal parts grinding against each other. British researchers have linked the shavings to an increased risk of cancer of the kidneys and bladder.)

“I complained to my surgeon six months after the replacement and he told me the pain would go away but I’m still waiting,” John adds. “After I had the Pinnacle hip replacement I spent 30 days in the rehab center and I’m not looking forward to going through that again. Now that I’ve done some research, however, I’m going to find another surgeon if this guy insists that I wait it out. By all accounts, this Pinnacle is just as bad as the other Depuy hip replacement that was recalled.”

John is 65 years old and he also has a heart condition, which is extremely troublesome if he is thinking about replacement surgery.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (July 23, 2012), reports that hip and knee implant patients were almost 26 times more likely to have a heart attack during the two weeks after surgery. Further, the risk was still elevated fivefold in the third through sixth weeks of recovery after the operation. The exhaustive study included records of 95,000 people from Denmark who had a hip or knee replaced and their counterparts who didn’t.

The study indicates that the risk of heart attack is attributed to the effects of undergoing a major surgery such as hip and knee replacement. According to the National Institutes of Health, side effects include the after effects of anesthesia, blood loss, irregular heartbeat and lack of oxygen, all of which are known to increase risk of heart attacks.

So what are the options for John, and thousands and thousands of elderly hip and knee implant patients—a life time of pain? The researchers advised patients who had a heart attack in the previous year not have the elective joint surgery.

Meanwhile, lawyers around the country have filed many DePuy ASR hip cases for trial and now they are focusing on DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits.

“We continue to investigate and meet with experts, including medical experts with a specialty in metal-on-metal devices,” says attorney Tim Becker, a founding partner of Johnson Becker. His clients have complaints similar to the recalled DePuy hip device.

“If my clients are having problems with their DePuy hip replacement I tell them they may have a claim,” explains Becker. “Certainly if you are contemplating revision surgery (particularly if your doctor recommends it), or your blood tests indicate high levels of cobalt and chromium, in my view you have a claim. And you have a good opportunity to pursue a recovery.”

Given this recent study, replacement surgery may not be an option. A DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit, however, may be.


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